'It's Always Sunny's' 100th Episode Is 'F--king Weird,' Glenn Howerton Promises
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, The Gang Saves the Day (Patrick McElhenney/FX)
One hundred episodes… not bad for a bunch of selfish degenerates running a dive bar in Philly.
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" started out as the rare Hollywood fairy tale that actually came true, with three out-of-work actor buddies writing their own TV show and somehow getting it on the air. Eight years later, "Sunny" now stands as the longest-running live-action comedy in cable history, and is set to hit the vaunted 100-episode milestone this Wednesday night (10 p.m. on FXX).
Despite his new status as sitcom elder statesman, "Sunny" star/executive producer Glenn Howerton (Dennis) assured us in a recent phone interview that they're still pushing the envelope: "This 100th episode is definitely one of our higher-concept episodes. It's a big swing... maybe our biggest swing ever, actually. It's strange; it's f--king weird. The structure of the episode is very odd. But that's part of the fun of our show: You never really know what you're gonna get, week to week."
The episode, entitled "The Gang Saves the Day," is an experimental, "Run Lola Run"-esque outing where each member of the Paddy's Pub gang envisions how they'd respond in a crisis. As Howerton teased it, "A convenience store gets robbed, and you go inside each person's head, one at a time, and the character fantasizes about how life would turn out if they were to intervene. So it's almost like five vignettes. They're all conceptual in their own way." That includes a fantasy for Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) featuring a cameo from a certain golden-voiced dreamboat:
[Related: 9 'Sunny' Revelations From Kaitlin Olson]
"Sunny" has never been afraid to take shots at sacred cows… even within its own industry. Case in point: this season's "The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award," one of the funniest episodes in years, which parodied "Sunny's" lack of Emmy love (just one measly technical nomination across eight seasons) by having the gang grovel and completely revamp Paddy's in hopes of winning a local bar award.
Howerton said the "Sunny" writers were actually split on whether they should so forcefully bite the hand that feeds them: "We really debated it for a long time. We were like, 'If we don't get this right, it could really look like we're just bitter.' So we almost didn't do it. But the more we talked about it and conceptualized what the episode would be, we were all laughing. This is funny! We can't back away from this just because we're worried we might alienate the entertainment industry in some way. That's not how we operate. So we decided to just go full-force into it. And I'm glad it turned out well, because it could've been a disaster."